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Ospreys 22 Connacht 10

By - | 23/02/2009

The Ospreys sealed a three-tries-to-one 22-10 victory over Connacht to keep up their challenge for the Magners League title at the Liberty Stadium.

But there was no bonus point, which would have taken the Welsh region into outright second place above Leinster. The Ospreys followed up first-half tries for centre Jonathan Spratt and flanker Steve Tandy with a score for wing Jonny Vaughton halfway through the second period. Connacht's late consolation came through replacement centre Troy Nathan. The Ospreys, who included Wales squad member Jonathan Thomas, were over for the first try as early as the third minute. Full-back Gareth Owen and Spratt set up the position before a neat inside pass from Vaughton sent Spratt over the converted score.

A missed penalty goal by Connacht outside-half Ian Keatley was followed by a near try for the Irishmen, but Dan Biggar got back to save a concerted counter-attack by Fionn Carr. Already without 11 players on Six Nations duty and another three internationals injured, the Ospreys suffered another setback when hooker Richard Hibbard limped off with an ankle injury after only 24 minutes. After that Connacht had much the better of the territorial battle but had only a 30th-minute penalty by Keatley to show for their efforts. That was cancelled out in first-half injury time with a long-range penalty from Biggar after John Muldoon had been spotted using a stray boot in a ruck. And a try a minute later gave the ospreys a 15-3 interval lead. Tandy went over in the left corner after taking a long pass from Biggar. Just as in the first half the Ospreys made much more of the possession they had, going in for their third try after 64 minutes when Vaughton went in at the left corner. Biggar converted to make it 22-3.

That was after the Ospreys had introduced Filo Tiatia and Marty Holah into the fray. But there was not to be a bonus-point try for the home side. Instead the final say came from Connacht who scored a 78th-minute converted try for replacement centre Troy Nathan.

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